With warmer months ahead, it's time to get serious about getting out in nature. From trail guides and navigation aids to hike logs and social networks for hikers, check out 15 of the best hiking apps for Android and iOS phones below. (Image Credit: lzf/Shutterstock)
The AllTrails app (Android, iOS) has got you covered with more than 50,000 trail guides for hiking, biking and more. Browse through the trail list or search for trails near you, look up trail reviews and write your own. AllTrails allows you to view topographic maps, photos and reviews, and lets you save a trail for offline use so you can take your trail guide to the field. From within the trail, you can upload pictures taken on the trail, and even create and upload your own tracks using your phone's GPS tracker.
MapMyFitness has an app for every outdoor activity under the sun, including hiking. MapMyHike (Android, iOS) uses your phone's sensors to track and log your hiking route, complete with information on pace, distance, calorie counting and route navigation. In addition to logging your own hikes, you can search and download other nearby routes. A premium subscription, starting at $5.99 per month, unlocks other features such as customized audio training cues.
Another excellent resource for offroad back country maps is BackCountry Navigator, an Android app that can take map data from a variety of free and paid sources for offline use. Users can add or import GPS waypoints, record a track, and display a variety of map layers and sources. The app can take maps from a variety of sources, such as from free maps like OpenStreetMap and Open Cycle Map, various official mapping agencies for selected regions worldwide, as well as premium sources.
ViewRanger (Android, iOS) is another versatile GPS trail navigation app that offers both free and premium content. Users can download free maps and trails for offline navigation, while buying premium map data such as USA and USGS Topo maps. There's also a premium "Skyline" augmented reality viewer that flags peaks, hills, and points of interest on your camera view. The app includes more than 180,000 trails, and users can print maps, import GPX files, track routes, plot points of interest, and view other important trip navigation stats.
Spyglass (Android, iOS) is a multipurpose GPS navigation and augmented reality viewfinding app that serves as a heads-up display with navigation details, a smart compass, and map display all rolled up into one mobile package. Users can download offline maps, navigate toward waypoints, get coordinates and find their way to locations. You can track your GPS location data, with altitude, course, and speed, track the sun and stars, use a rangefinder feature, and take measurements with the sextant, angular calculator and inclinometer tools. The app is premium on iOS, while a free version exists on Android with in-app purchases unlocking app features.
Not everyone has the skill or training to properly read a topographic map, so Maps 3D Pro is a helpful navigation tool for those planning an outdoor hike in rugged terrain. As its name suggests, Maps 3D Pro projects maps on a 3D view, allowing users to much more easily interpret terrain features such as hills, ridges, trails, paths, and more. Users can plan, save, and share routes, pre-load maps for offline viewing and navigation, and record their trip complete with coordinates and elevation data. If you are planning to use your iPhone as a navigation tool though, make sure you're well supplied with power (and a battery pack) and/or have a good backup.
Yonder (Android, iOS) allows users to easily share their experiences hiking, biking and camping with a global network of other lovers of the outdoors. Users can search or browse through a database of more than 200,000 destinations, follow other hikers to view their activity streams, or explore nearby locations through the map. It's great for finding out about nearby trails and routes, as well as an opportunity to network with other lovers of the outdoors.